Lake Geneva is one of the best Wisconsin towns for a weekend getaway (or a day trip!). It’s located just over an hour to the southeast of Madison, WI (depending on what part of Madison you are in).
Best known for their picturesque lake, surrounded by old mansions – built by Chicagoans in the 19th and 20th century – Lake Geneva is a delight for people of all ages.
I most recently went with my family for a weekend away and we had a hard time deciding what our favorite part was! The magic show? The boat cruise (with ice cream)?! The safari? Swimming at our hotel? The food?? It was ALL so much fun and so memorable.
There is no shortage of things to do (year round) — so I am putting together some of the highlights of things to do, where to eat and also where we stayed!
Safari Lake Geneva
Safari Lake Geneva was like nothing I have ever experienced before! If your kids love animals – this is a must visit attraction.
Once you enter Safari Lake Geneva, you stay in your car and drive through while the animals around you are free to walk wherever they want… and if you have a bucket of food (which you can get when you enter the park), they will swarm your vehicle (which leads to lots of excitement and giggles from the kids!). Afterwards, you can park and get out and interact with some of the smaller animals.
The animals you can spot include camels, zebras, llamas, alpacas, miniature horses, bison, water buffaloes and yaks!
Tristan Crist Magic Theatre
Tristan Crist Magic Theatre was my 7 year old son’s favorite attraction! Watch Tristan Crist perform incredible magic tricks and illusions that will keep your eyes glued to the show. Last year Tristan was named #1 illusionist in the world and this is one of the top Lake Geneva attractions! There is not a bad seat in the theatre and they also have concession stands; afterwards you can meet Tristan and get a photo or autograph.
Lake Geneva Cruise Lines
Lake Geneva Cruise Line offers exceptional boat tours in Lake Geneva, WI. Explore the picturesque lake and beautiful mansions and shoreline. Our tour guide shared interesting details about the estates along the lake and the history of Lake Geneva. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your friends and family. We did the ice cream social boat tour – but they have a variety of themes/choices to choose from!
Lake Geneva Ziplines
Lake Geneva Ziplines is located on 100-acres of land, that’s ideal for zip-lining (great for kids and adults!). This is one of the most popular activities in Lake Geneva — they have a total of 9 zippiness to explore.
Dancing Horses Theatre
Dancing Horses Theatre is a dazzling spectacle which features an array of horse breeds who perform alongside their trainers in this fantastic showing of equestrian artistry. It’s a live show of horses and trainers performing tricks. You also have the opportunity to observe the beautiful horses up close!
Boat Rentals in Lake Geneva:
- Marina Bay Boat Rentals
- Lake Geneva Boat Line
- Jerry’s Majestic Marine Rentals
Lake Geneva Clue Room
Lake Geneva Clue Room is an interactive game for groups of 2 to 10 people. You have 60 minutes to work together to solve the puzzles and challenges in order to make your escape. There are four different rooms available everyday–Gangter’s Gamble, Double Agent, Pilfered Playbook and our new Dark Carnival.
Geneva Lake Museum
The Geneva Lake Museum contains various relics and buildings that bring the area’s history to life. You can check out old car models, train models and other interesting artifacts from the 1800’s.
Explore Downtown Lake Geneva
Downtown Lake Geneva is bustling area with many restaurants, bars, galleries and shops. It’s full of unique, local storefronts and is a fun area to explore. You can explore on foot – or rent a scooter!
Big Foot Beach State Park
Big Foot Beach State Park offers about 6.5 miles of picturesque hiking trails. It offers some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin, and is often considered to be one of the favorite state parks in Wisconsin!
Summer | Best Beaches near Lake Geneva, WI:
- Lake Geneva Public Beach
- Big Foot Beach State Park
- Riviera Beach
- Fontana Beach
- Williams Bay Beach
Summer + Fall | Pearce’s Farm Stand with Corn Maze
Pearce’s Farm Stand provides you with the opportunity to buy the very best locally grown produce. They are known for their sweet corn and wide assortment of pumpkins and gourds. They carry fruits, veggies, jams, jellies, and locally harvested honey. They also offer fresh donuts and kettle corn made every weekend on site! All vegetables are hand picked, cared for, washed and then retailed to you. Pearce’s Farm Stand strives to grow and provide quality, farm fresh, wholesome family food to nourish and enjoy!
The ambiance of Pier 290 makes it a favorite. Located right on the bay, they also had live music while we were there. The food was equally impressive. My husband had the surf & turf, and I had a vegetarian pasta. The kids menu also offered a variety of choices. We ordered a couple larger desserts to share and those were gone in sixty seconds – they were that good!
My 7 year old daughter declared Oakfire ‘the best pizza in town’. Not only was the food delicious — but it’s location offers a wonderful view of the lake. Try their calamari, brick oven pizzas and white sangria.
Lake City Social
Lake City Social is located in The Cove of Lake Geneva (the hotel we stayed at) and serves an American-style menu, fresh with classic favorites and trending cultural dishes.
Popeye’s serves fried seafood and rotisserie chicken.
Egg Harbor Cafe
Egg Harbor Cafe is one of the best downtown Lake Geneva restaurants for breakfast and brunch. Just one-half block from the beach, they serve up creative breakfast, brunch and lunch options sourced from locally owned businesses.
Where We Stayed
The Cove of Lake Geneva
The Cove of Lake Geneva offers deluxe hotel amenities (indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, game room, on-site dining, and more). The rooms are spacious and offer vacation-condo living, perfect for a family! We had two bedrooms (one with two double beds and one with a king sized bed), along with a living room which had a pull-out sofa. In addition to this, we had a full sized kitchen. The Cove of Lake Geneva is conveniently located right by downtown (and across from the lake). There is also a park with a playground right next to it, and downtown is a short walk.